Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

After all the wild weather last weekend, things have calmed down a bit.  Branches keep coming down here and there around campus, but the majority of damage has been cleaned up by our grounds crew along with help of other St. Joseph’s maintenance staff.  It was really a team effort as electric saws, manual trimmers and hand-powered rakes were used to repair what Mother Nature tore apart.  There was some minor structural damage, but nothing of a serious nature.  We are grateful, but it is a shame that so many trees were damaged or lost completely. Several tree stumps still need to be removed and there will be

a lot of replanting to come. We received word from our fellow SCJs (Priests of the Sacred Heart) on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation that they too had high winds which brought down some trees. Thankfully, no buildings or cars were hit and everyone is safe.

Several trees were lost, but we’re thankful that no one was injured in last week’s storms.

Several trees were damaged or destroyed completely in last week’s storms.

You can tell the travel season is well underway by looking at the number of cars, tour buses, campers and RV’s in the parking lot at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. I can see the parking lot from my office window and it is interesting to see visitors from all over the country stopping in to learn about the Lakota (Sioux) culture and walk through the new alumni and historical center that gives a brief overlook of St. Joseph’s history. If you would like to about others’ experiences to help you decide if your travel plans include a visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School, you can check us out on TripAdvisor.

The pool in our rec center is undergoing some repair. It is such a blessing and provides so many good things for our students. It is good exercise during the long South Dakota winter, helps fight childhood obesity, enables water safety and swimming lessons

St. Joseph’s pool provides exercise and lots of fun for the Lakota children.

The pool is such a blessing to St. Joseph’s students, and does so many good things for them!

to be conducted; and provides the opportunity for laughter, fun, friendships and fond memories to be established. The pool is also a benefit we can share with our staff and their families, as well as the local community. Stay tuned for details and updates!

A few weeks ago, the Chamberlain Junior Achievement program held its annual golf tournament hosting 16 teams. Participants helped raise over $3,000 which will go toward the various programs sponsored by Junior Achievement.  I’m happy to announce the St. Joseph’s team won the event with an 18 under par score of 54 over 18 holes. Congratulations!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day weekend.  If you are using fireworks, please stay safe and enjoy your local festivities.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


It is a universal understanding that people who work at schools should get the summers off. Well I am here to tell you this is a myth! Folks I talk to always ask what I do with

Frank W. 7-8th Residential Coordinator

Frank W.
7-8th Residential Coordinator

summers off… and then become perplexed when I tell them that, at St. Joseph’s Indian School, I work all summer.

This is when the questions comes out: What do you do all summer? I usually answer “not much” with a sly smile on my face.

The campus is different type of busy from June to August. Between Rising Eagle Day Camp in June, high school students working summer jobs and going to camps, the summer home for grades 1-8, interviewing potential houseparents and planning programing for the next school year, we tend to keep pretty busy. I think there are more kids on campus during June than during a month during the regular school year!

There are approximately 14 Lakota students in grades 1-8 who stay on campus until mid-July.

Students in St. Joseph’s summer program recently had a field trip to the local airport.

In the organized chaos that is summer, I help supervise the summer home with the other Residential Coordinators. We have approximately 14 Lakota students in grades 1-8 who stay on campus until mid-July. There are several different reasons for students to stay on campus in the summer home, but all come with their parent or guardian’s request and approval. The kids have a great time over the summer with extra trips, daily visits to the Chamberlain pool and community service projects. The hard part is that they have to attend school Monday through Friday, 9am to noon.

For our high school students, a major part of their summer being able to work in various jobs on campus. We have junior houseparents who went through an interview process and earned a spot working in the summer home. Junior houseparents help with supervision of the students, preparing meals, and even some paperwork. Students earn valuable work experience and get to see the other side of the fence of living in a St. Joseph’s home!

Another part of what I do in the summer is work with other administrators to plan for next year. Decisions need to be made about programing, policies and updating rules. This is a really boring process, but it’s important to ensure everything on campus runs smoothly next year.

The last big piece of summer at St. Joseph’s is interviewing and hiring new houseparents. Our Human Resource Department works hard at recruiting, screening and bringing in potential houseparents for interviews. This is a lengthy process, but necessary to ensure we find the right people to care for the children in their campus homes.

St. Joseph’s has junior houseparents who went through an interview process and earned a spot working in the summer home.

RJ, a 2015 graduate, is working with summer school teachers in the mornings and as a junior houseparent in the afternoons.

When summer starts to wind down in July and the summer kids leave for home, campus becomes really creepy quiet! I use the word “creepy” because, without the laughter and noise of the kids, campus just doesn’t feel right. The kids are definitely the heart and soul of our campus life and are duly missed when they are not here.

As staff, we appreciate the down time, but the creepy quiet also reminds us why we are here, and renews our faith and belief in the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

So folks, that is what happens on campus in the summer!

What I do is small piece in the bigger puzzle of St. Joseph’s. Our development office, maintenance crew, rec staff and Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center staff work hard all summer doing their part to keep campus running, make repairs and welcome visitors.

We only have seven weeks until new staff training starts. And the kids come back for the new school year just two weeks after that!

Please pray for our staff to receive rest and renewal on their time off and pray for students to have safe and happy summer. As always, thank you for your support! Without your generosity, we could not continue the work we do to help the Lakota (Sioux) children. Thank you!

Frank W.

7-8th Residential Coordinator

Good afternoon from a noisy St. Joseph’s Indian School! I thought it was going to be a peaceful weekend, but Mother Nature stepped in and changed everyone’s plans. Friday

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

night, we had wind gusts up to 100 mph as a severe thunderstorm came through. The morning light revealed lots of branches down, several trees snapped in half and even some blown over completely — one toppled just outside my office window! Thankfully, there did not seem to be any structural damage, and all our students and staff were safe.  The winds returned once again in the wee hours of Monday morning, which brought down even more trees and branches.

We are very grateful that none of our students or staff were hurt either day. Today, our maintenance crew is busy trimming branches and trees all over campus to clear our streets and sidewalks. We also lost power, which caused a late start for staff this morning. The damage is going to take several days to clean up.

There was lots of damage in Chamberlain with trees being uprooted during both of the storms, tree branches all over and electrical poles broken. One home suffered a tree falling against the house and damaging the porch.

Trees around St. Joseph’s campus were damaged in severe thunderstorms over the weekend.

Two weekend storms uprooted a tree outside my office and caused other damage around St. Joseph’s campus.

The Sunday paper out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had a front page article on the impact of the storm in our area.  It seemed several trailers and campers were overturned in the Fort Thompson area which resulted in the tragic death of an individual who was a relative of one of our staff’s family.  The Red Cross moved in quickly to get a shelter open which provided support and food.

Across the Missouri River from Fort Thompson, Lower Brule also suffered some damage as roofs on the courthouse, Boys & Girls Club and several other buildings were severely damaged.  Power was knocked out west of the Missouri River for more than 100 miles, with many people still not having their power restored yet today.

Our prayers are with all those cleaning up and recovering from the storms.


Thanks to all those who attended our most recent donor luncheon in New York and Brooklyn! Camron (a 2015 eighth grade graduate) and Tayvin (an incoming eighth

While in New York for a donor event, the Lakota students got to take in the sites.

Camron and Tayvin at the American Museum of Natural History.

grader) enjoyed their opportunity to meet so many members of their tiyospaye extended family. The boys mentioned they were happy to have the chance to visit the 9/11 museum, the American Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty.

It’s always wonderful to meet so many people who care about the Lakota (Sioux) children, but please remember to RSVP so we know you’re coming. The number on Saturday caught our team off guard with more people showing up than had registered for the event.

We hope you can join us for an upcoming luncheon!

For additional information or to register, please contact us at 1-800-584-9200.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’m heading out now to see how the clean-up is going around campus.

God bless,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


My name is Odis, and I am a houseparent for fourth to sixth grade

Odis, St. Joseph's Houseparent

Odis, St. Joseph’s Houseparent

boys at St Joseph’s Indian School. This summer I am working on St. Joseph’s bookmobile for the third time. We have spent two weeks traveling to Indian reservations around South Dakota delivering books in our bookmobile for children and adults. This year I am working with a Seth, a volunteer from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Sometimes working the bookmobile you have time to set up your table before the kids get to the van and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, kids are lined up waiting for us!

You need all kinds of skills on the bookmobile, including bike mechanics!

In Parmelee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Seth did some impromptu bike repair for a boy.

And it’s not as simple as just letting kids choose a book. You have to have all kinds of skills, like working on the children’s bikes while they are looking for a Captain Underpants book. This happened to us in Parmelee when Seth had to do some impromptu bike repair for a boy. I was happy Seth was good at that kind of thing.

He was also good at making peace with the local dogs in the

communities we visited. We brought along some dog treats, which just lasted a couple stops as the kids started passing them out to the dogs as well.

Each summer, St. Joseph’s bookmobile travels to reservation communities in South Dakota.

St. Joseph’s bookmobile visits communities on South Dakota reservations.

The most popular author with the men who come looking for something to read is Louis L’Amour. They really enjoy any western. We were grateful to have grandmothers pick up books for grandkids. We could really tell by the amount of time a parent or guardian looked for that “perfect book” how well they knew their child’s reading habits.

Thank you to all the donors who send books each year! I want you to know we treat your gently used books with care. There are many people on the reservations here in

 Lakota (Sioux) children choose books to take home.

Thank you for sharing your gently used books!

South Dakota who love your books and do not have access to a bookstore or library, so the books you so generously send are much appreciated. Thank you!

God bless,


Good day to you all!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed Flag Day on Sunday.  It was a quiet weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School; the summer break home went to Sioux Falls for an outing and most of the high school students were also away.

Last week, St. Joseph’s hosted SCJ Schools in Collaboration. The SCJ community operates elementary schools and parishes in Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota. The principals and one teacher from each school gathered to share ideas and plan for the future. Francis Whitebird, a Lakota language expert and the husband of St. Joseph’s principal, gave a presentation on Lakota spirituality.

Discussions were also held on ways to develop lesson plans to share the charism of our SCJ community established by our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, SCJ.  He had a deep interest in education and we try to continue in his footsteps.

Friday, June 12 was the Feast of the Sacred Heart. To conclude Schools in Collaboration, we held a joint prayer service via Skype with an SCJ high school program in Germany. Their choir led the singing and our group did the readings.  Each school also contributed a prayer of the faithful.

Some of St. Joseph’s high school students were able to participate in the prayer service from Germany! Adrian, Jacob, Danielle and Martina are currently staying with local families in Handrup. Their chaperones, Aaron and Melissa, are staying with the SCJ community. Everyone is having a wonderful time seeing sites and learning about one another.

St. Joseph’s recently hosted SCJ Schools in Collaboration with principals and teachers from Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

The principals and one teacher from each SCJ school attended Schools in Collaboration. Also pictured are Mark Peters from Director of Peace and Justice, and David Schimmel, Director of Dehonian Associates.

To complete the exchange, St. Joseph’s will host the German students in September. They will attend our powwow and visit South Dakota’s famous Black Hills, learning about life for St. Joseph’s students and Native American culture.

This past Saturday was the 130th birthday celebration of Gann Valley, South Dakota – the county seat of neighboring Buffalo County.  It is the smallest county seat in the country, having a population of just 12. But it grew 30-fold for the day!

There was a parade complete with a 1903 Ford, antique tractors, the Shriners and the lawnmower racers even made an appearance. Lawnmower races are a big time event in Pukwana, South Dakota – another neighboring town.

The parade was further enhanced by the presence of the Kyle Evans Memorial Trail Ride, which began in Wessington Springs on Thursday and arrived at Gann Valley just as the parade was ready to kick off.  There must have been 20 wagons and over 200 riders of all ages.

After the parade, the day was spent enjoying various games and activities. One event was the buffalo chip throwing. You were able to get in some practice since they had parking in one of the pastures near downtown where you could pick up some ‘chips’ and practice a toss or two as you made your way to the parade.  Another highlight of the day was introducing those families who have been in the Gann Valley area for over 100 years. The day ended with a complimentary dinner (350 plates were prepared) and a dance in the evening.

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable week! You and your intentions are remembered in our prayers.  We’ll be finishing this month’s novena for our benefactors on June 19.

God bless you always,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Summer is in full swing here at the Akta Lakota Museum and Historical Center!

Char Historical Center Coordinator

Historical Center Coordinator

Seasonal staff started May 1 and we have been busy with summer camps, RV tours and many visitors from around the world.

Stop in and say hello to me at the reception desk! It is always a pleasure to meet our visitors and help make your visit a memorable experience. I highly recommend that you stop by to tour our museum and campus to learn more about the history of the Lakota (Sioux) people and get a more in-depth look at the work done at St. Joseph’s Indian School. We also have two gift shops with a fine selection of jewelry, books, quilts, pottery and many more items to help you find the perfect souvenir from your summer vacation.

We are open seven days per week during the summer:

Monday – Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday   9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Campus Tour Options:

  • A self-guided audio tour to use in your car as you drive around campus.
  • An mp3 player for a walking tour.
  • Guided tours are at 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday.

This is approximately a 1 mile walking tour (transportation can be arranged if needed).

  • A private guided tour for a different day or time is available by appointment only.

    Admission and tours at the museum are free of charge.

    The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center shares the history of the Lakota (Sioux) people.


Museum Tour Options:

  • Guided museum tours available by appointment.


All options are free of charge.

To schedule a guided tour just give me a call at 800-798-3452 or email me at I’m so excited to help you arrange your tour! All tours begin at the Akta Lakota Museum. For the safety of the Lakota children who live on our campus, we ask all visitors to please check in at the reception

area at the museum upon arrival.


Hope to see you soon!


Historical Center Coordinator

Visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center today!

Welcome to the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center!

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

It’s great to be home from my trip east to attend a graduation and ordination.  I also enjoyed time visiting family.

The big excitement that happened here in the Chamberlain community, was the opening of the new pool.  The pool re-opened on May 30 and raffle tickets were sold to see who would be first down the slide.  It was nice to see the work of the Explorers recognized due to their fundraising help.

St. Joseph’s summer home students have visited the pool several times and have really enjoyed themselves.  I asked this past Sunday at Mass how the students had enjoyed the new pool. A second grader said it was great except for the “caffeine” in the water that hurt his eyes.  We all looked at him for a moment and then it dawned on us he meant to say ‘chlorine.’

St. Joseph’s bookmobile shares free books in reservation communities across South Dakota.

Bookmobile staff were surprised and delighted to have visitors on horseback!

Later, I came across the bookmobile group busily re-stocking the bookmobile to head out to the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations. The bookmobile had just returned from visiting the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. Later this month the bookmobile will be making trips to other reservations to the north and east of St. Joseph’s.

This week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation began their two weeks at St. Joseph’s Rising Eagle Day Camp. For the first two weeks of camp, our bus goes to the Crow Creek Reservation to pick up camp participants.

Each day of camp, there were at least 50 younger students and about 20 or so for grades five and higher. Kids spend the day with activities like Lakota studies, arts & crafts and swimming.

We are happy to have Kat, an upcoming sophomore at Notre Dame University as part of the day camp team. She is taking part in a Summer Service Project Internship through her university. During her time at St. Joseph’s, she’ll work with day camp, travel with St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors as they visit our students and families, help out with the bookmobile trips as well as the first through eighth grade summer home.

The program gives firsthand experience to help Notre Dame graduates have ‘a disciplined sensibility to the poverty and oppression that burdens the lives of many.’  Those who have taken part in this program have completed their time by working in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in various programs offered through the Sioux Falls Diocese or local civic programs helping those in need.  We welcome Kat to St. Joseph’s and hope she has a wonderful experience.

Next week, we are excited to welcome visitors from other Catholic elementary schools affiliated with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  The program is called SCJ Schools in

This week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation began their two weeks at day camp.

Rising Eagle Day Camp is in week three on St. Joseph’s campus.

Collaboration.  Representatives from schools in Wisconsin, Texas and Mississippi will be coming to St. Joseph’s to discuss issues for the future and also to join in a prayer service with a SCJ high school program in Germany.

I hope everyone has a great week.  May God’s blessings continue to be with all of you for your generosity to the Lakota boys and girls attending St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ



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